Marina Painting this Weekend (5-6th Aug) and my Summer Painting Tour of Britain

This weekend I’m really excited to be taking part in the Marina Arts Trial in Portishead, I’ve had a small part in organising it along with the other Portishead Arts people and will be doing a demo on Saturday, wish me luck. Saturday is all about people coming along and joining in to do something arty. We’ll be supplying acrylic paint, boards and brushes, there’ll also be felting workshops and a pastel demo by Michelle Lucking. We’ll be hanging all the work around the Marina ready for Sunday which will be a day of celebration and relaxation for me as I won’t have to do a demo. I’m really looking forward to Paris, a renowned graffiti artist, painting a 25 foot yacht! I might do a painting of him painting. There’ll also be some skateboard trickery, the whole weekend is also raising money for youth projects in Portishead, you can pledge to buy one of the created art works online here, get in quick to bag a bargain, there are a limited number left.

Here’s a Marina painting from June.

Sunset catching Marina

Apologies for it being such a long time since the last post. I’ve been doing plenty of outdoor air painting all around the country, I only realised how much while writing this.

I had a quick trip in June to Lyme Regis on the South coast to paint with the very talented painters Maria Rose and Tom Stevenson.

Pink Flamingo, Lyme Regis

 

I’ve long heard about the Buxton Spa Prize competition and this year I had an opportunity to take part. I spent a warm, sunny day painting outside in the most gorgeous market town. The visit coincided with a farmers market that kept me well fed for the next few days too.

Buxton

 

I spent a weekend at Priddy folk festival at the start of July, a chance to paint and sketch some performers as well as the crowds.

I went from there to a one day course with artist Richard Pikesley NEAC and by contrast painted some arable farm scenes in Wiltshire and picked up some tips too, mostly look harder!

Farmyard and Barley

 

I then had an opportunity to paint on the Gower with a load of other artists. The weather was so changeable I was oblivious to a red sunburnt neck until it was too late, the drizzle was deceptive. Apparently it’s not enough to have sun-tan lotion in your bag at your feet, you need to put it on your skin.

Worm’s Head, Gower

 

Last weekend I took part in Pintar Rapido, Europe’s largest outdoor painting event that runs annually in the Chelsea area of London. I did a little painting of the Albert Bridge in Chelsea on the day before that I was pleased with despite having left my turps at home.

 

Albert Bridge Chelsea

The prize ceremony on Sunday was a great opportunity to meet up with artists that I’ve previously only known through social media, one of whom Adam Ralston I’ve admired for a long while and I was very pleased when he was announced as the ultimate winner. Congratulations Adam.

More painting trips are coming up, look out for a bit of Cornwall followed by a bit more Wales. I can’t wait and I hope to see some of you this weekend.

Also don’t forget the Clevedon Art Club Open exhibition which opens and I’ll hopefully get some work selected for, perhaps some of these.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on twitter and on Instagram @ianpriceart as well as Facebook @ianpriceart or just browse the updated galleries on my website.

Everything has gone green

I’ve previously favoured a muted palette so at this time of year with all this lush, verdant growth wherever you look I feel a bit intimidated.

My theory is that evolutionarily we are programmed to discern differences in the many shades of green to help guide our ancestors to sources of food and water. Also green in Spring is especially acid. How many works of art can you think of that accommodate the true strength of these greens? It’s very easy to foul up a painting that includes green.

Many artists today (myself included) and throughout history have worked around this by downplaying the true strength of green to ensure a harmonious picture. Even Constable browned down his greens.

Gone Fishing, Usk Reservoir

Gone fishing. Avoiding green at Usk reservoir in the Brecon Beacons.

I decided to try to focus on this weakness, tackle it head on and paint more green, more strongly.

I sought some advice from artists about how they made such strong and believable greens. Mix your own greens from warm and cool blues and yellows, avoid viridian, practice with sap and hookers green and use premixed light green moderated with earth colours came the conflicting advice.

Here are more of my recent plain air paintings, my main finding is that the right green can be arrived at by many different routes but the important thing is to maintain the true variety of greens across the painting by careful observation. Sadly its easier said than done, I’ve not found a silver bullet and more practice needed.

There’s no better way to practice your greens than to paint outside at this time of year.


A bit more green, Liberty leading the trees, also at Usk reservoir.
I also had a green disaster at Carreg Cennen castle. Total rework needed, no image to protect your eyeballs!

 

Friesans, Catcott


An improvement, Friesans on the Somerset levels. Also some camera glare, may crop this one.

Some views around the Hope Valley in the Peak District including Castleton castle. There’s plenty of variation in green between these paintings but plenty more to do.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. You an also follow me on twitter and now Instagram @ianpriceart

Bank Holiday visit to Wales

Over the BH weekend I went to Wales timed partly to catch the BP Portrait award exhibition which is in Aberystwyth and is highly recommended. It finishes soon before moving on elsewhere. I particularly liked the Paul Benney “pig” painting as well as the prize winners which all looked totally justified in the flesh.

On the way I walked up to Llyn y Fan Fach in the western Brecon Beacons above Myddfai. It’s a stunning spot and famous for its Lady of the lake legend. I was prepared for everything apart from the heat so carried a mountain of pessimistic clothing as well as my painting kit to the top. Here are some photos complete with gnats which found the paintings irresistible. I hope they’ll come off when they dry.





I also managed to grab a quick sketch of Mam too on my rush around South Wales.



The Sea Can Be Turquoise?

I’ve spent quite a few days down in Cornwall over the last few weeks on a family holiday closely followed by a course with Paul Lewin at the Newlyn School of Art. I’ve never had much success with sketching out of doors so I thought some exposure to some new ideas on his Coastal Painting mixed media course could help.

I did a few plein air oil paintings around Mousehole where I stayed and also in Newlyn. Because these were fitted in around other things they came out a bit tight but it was good to get into the swing of things before the course started. Did you know the sea could be turquoise? Mousehole is a great place for an arty break. Ken Howard even has a studio there.

Despite the turquoise sea it was pretty chilly and fogbound when the course started. The woolly hat I found in my pocket got used. Thanks to Sarah for the arty photo (note beard has gone for the Summer).

IMG_3123
On the course we were encouraged to make multiple sketches initially of various compositions and to get a good tonal range using water soluble graphite pencils. I’ve tried these before without much success as mentioned but they seemed to work better in Cornwall. Not worrying about where the dog has wandered to or is eating or barking at or chasing helps to improve sketch quality I think.
Here are the inital paintings from Porthgwarra, getting to grips with gouache.
IMG_3105 IMG_3104
After a few days painting and sketching at Porthgwarra the final day was at Carn Groose on the north coast near Land’s end where I found a 2m by 3m ledge at the end of the headland which had spectacular views in every direction and was unnaturally sheltered.
Being at he end of the headland I wasn’t interrupted by anyone passing, even Paul struggled to find me.  The sea fog eventually lifted and I was eventually able to take off my hat and coat that hat been welded to my body for three days and apply some sun block. I was able to get into the techniques I’d picked up and completed these three paintings looking in varying directions from that single point. A real treat.
The Brisons from Carn Groose

The Brisons from Carn Groose

Lands' End from Carn Groose

Lands’ End from Carn Groose (I’ll straighten the horizon line).

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Cape Cornwall from Carn Groose

Carn Groose to Land’s End (still wearing waterproof trousers!)

The course gave me a prod to persevere with outdoor sketches and also reignited my previous enthusiasm for water-colour. I found adding gouache to extend the range of effects and paint over any messes and define things without the slow death of using masking fluid to be really liberating. The most surprising thing was that is allowed me to play with paint splashing and dribbling outdoors in front of the subject which I’d previously only done (very enjoyably) using oils indoors. Getting oil too splashy outside would generally result in your efforts dribbling to the bottom of the painting on the walk home.
Overall a great use of a few days at the course and lovely to spend time in a beautiful cottage in Mousehole too, thanks to Adam and Helen for their cottage. My next step is to apply some of the things learnt to the greys and browns of the Severn Estuary.
Most of these paintings will be on view during North Somerset arts week, Mayday BH and the following weekend, 2-4th and  9-10th. My venue details are included in the North Somerset Arts Week Brochure entry.

Double Art – End of term life class report

I’ve just completed two terms of life classes and am taking the Summer off to get out in the fresh air and do some more plein air painting so a good time for a round up I think. I’ve attached a bumper pack of life class studies at the end of this post. 

For most of the time since October I’ve been focussing on double life model oil painted studies. I go to the Bristol Life class run by Will Stevens, the Bristol Grammar session he runs is famous in Bristol but there’s a sister session in Ashley Down (Brunel Field) that has a bit more space for me to set up an easel. One benefit of Will’s classes is that they have enough models to allow a double pose, usually at the long pose end of the room. 

When doing life painting it’s easy to fool yourself that you’ve nailed the colour mixing when you have come up with a convincing study, this is even more true in still lives or landscapes. However when I started doing the double poses I found that I’d been deluding myself, I found my flesh tones were convincing tonally but when you are confronted with two models you suddenly realise there’s a whole new world of subtlety in skin colour that I hadn’t appreciated, this is even true between two “white” models. By having the two models next to each other you’re forced into mixing a true skin colour that complements or contrasts accurately with their neighbour, or to put it another way you can see you’ve got it wrong more clearly. You can no longer get away with them being tonally close enough when working with a pair of models. Obviously none of this matters if you haven’t got the models in front of you when you are looking at the painting but I’ve always treated a life class as a learning and improving exercise and I found painting two models at once really stretched me. 

 I’m not way saying that these are great paintings or great compositions, in some cases I’ve got the mixes horribly wrong or made drawing errors and in others I’ve just run out of time. It takes concentration for me to get this much down in the time and the odd week that I fell back to plain old charcoal or whatever and drew a shorter pose seemed like a holiday. However as an exercise I’ve found it really challenging and rewarding and I’ll be back next Autumn to continue trying to improve and working out what to do with backgrounds! 

Why don’t you take the double life art challenge too? 

 All of the poses are 45 or 60 minutes and painted in oil on Arches Oil paper (stocked by Bristol Fine Art), this is all on the same white paper despite appearances from my variable photos below. I’ve generally used the Zorn palette (cadmium red, yellow ochre and black which acts as a versatile blue!) and supplemented with other colours as the pose dictates.

 













Chilly #pleinair #painting from #batterypoint #portishead

Apologies for the double post, accidentally published a draft, here’s what I meant to say…

My painting of a Buoy Maintenance vessel, which obligingly sat still actually maintaining a buoy while I painted. Thanks to Norman for the photo and his friend for the ship info. Despite the care my favourite part is the turps drips in the bottom right.   IMG_0330.JPG
IMG_2844.JPG
IMG_0334.JPG

Here’s one of Battery Point, Portishead from later the same day showing a fisherman sat at the base of the lighthouse. He caught around five cod while I painted. It was much colder than it looked and my hand was a frozen boxing glove by the time I’d finished but I was pleased I stuck with it. 

IMG_0332-0.JPG  

Tools of trade #painting #art #portishead

Here are a couple of recent larger landscapes. Both are headlands close to home on the Severn Estuary, regular dog walking territory.
The first one includes a few tools used to “paint” it. I used the big putty knife to drag the sky around.
IMG_2895.JPG
I did quite a lot of scraping with it on the “Frosty Headland” painting too. Appropriately chilly, but no snow yet here this year.
IMG_2897.JPG
I did bit of bathroom tile DIY over the weekend and am wondering whether to use the “grout float” on the next one? I’ve got some bigger canvases ready for it!
IMG_2896.JPG

Sadly the Andrew James #oilpainting #portrait #course is over for another year. #bristol #portishead

I’ve just had a great week painting with the great Andrew James RP.
IMG_2494

He came to Portishead (just outside Bristol) again to teach portraiture on a three day course that I organise. Everyone had a great time once more, I survived consecutive courses and you can see some examples of the student’s work and register your interest for an anticipated 2015 course on the course page if I’ve not got your details yet.

Thanks to Andrew and all the students and models for making it such a great success and Helen for behind the scenes support including critical cake making. 

Here are slideshows of the demos from the two courses last week. I’ll be posting my own work from it in a later post.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Forgot to post this photo of #pleinair #seascape #painting in situ last week

The palette is probably a bit misleading as most of the colours around the edge weren’t used.
From memory I probably used white, burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, viridian and yes a touch of black!
Interestingly, perhaps, I’d left my palette knife at home, which I would have expected to have used in that fiddly iron-work and scratched about with it in the foreground rocks. Who knows if it would have improved it?
Those with a nautical bent can tell me how long it took to paint by judging the change in the tide line!
20140515-111439 pm.jpg

My first attempt at #framing

Well actually my 3rd, 4th and 5th attempts but I won’t show you those.

20140501-084931 pm.jpg
Total cost of the wood is about £3, I can’t remember the cost of the new mitre saw I bought, ahem…
The main thing is that I’ve still got all my fingers left.
I’ve got a thin, normal and wider width of tray frame, general feedback so far is that the thinner frames look better around these little paintings although the difference is subtle.

Got “Have we enjoyed ourselves enough yet?” into the RWA open

Its title is a saying of someone my wife used to ride horses with, while getting soaked to the skin and freezing on a hack she’d ask “Have we enjoyed ourselves enough yet?”. I thought the same applied to the trudging dog walker.

It was painted using the left over paint on the palette after finishing a much tighter plein air painting. I painted the memory of the dog walker I had just seen walking back to his car, he was gone by the time I started to paint him; I was sat in the warmth of my car with the wipers on intermittent.

I met some lovely artists with some great work when I picked up my rejected large “Kilkenny Bay” seascape from the RWA this Monday. Commiserations to all of them, it really is a brutal process and a bit of a lottery. The panel must have had to view 700+ pictures in a day and wall space for the larger work is at a premium with the number of RWA academicians exhibiting. I feel very lucky to have got one in.

The RWA exhibition opens on Nov 24th and runs until the 26th of Jan.

20130914-105646 AM.jpg

What have Bristol Drawing Club, Adebanji Alade, Zorn, me and Kate Middleton got in common? #painting #portrait #palette #kate

I was lucky enough to get to see the ROI exhibition in the Mall Galleries last month, the painting that stood out for me was a painting of a homeless person by Adebanji Alade. The most remarkable thing about the portrait was that it used the Zorn palette only Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, White and Black!
Image

http://adebanjialade.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-face-of-homelessness-earls-court.html

The link shows a demo of him making the painting. I was impressed by the range of colours from such a limited palette.
 
This palette is name after the Swedish artist Zorn who specialised in paintings of Scandinavian ladies on the way to have a bit of a goosepimply wash in a fjord, brrr.

 

Image
This spurred me on to have a go and find a subject to try out the Zorn palette on. I’m a big fan of Bristol Drawing Club (http://bristoldrawingclub.blogspot.co.uk) where pub and sketching people meet seamlessly. What’s not to like? At one of these get togethers I sat opposite Jim for 60 seconds, sketching each other before we shuffled along to the next person, a bit like speed dating with pencils.
I ended up with this sketch, thank you Jim!

 Image

 I thought I’d captured Jim as far as I could tell from our 60 second meeting, so I thought it was a good candidate to work up into a little painting.

 
First thing I did was to see what range of colours I could get out of this palette so started mixing. This is what I got…
Image
I thought that was plenty of colours and set about painting using the sketch and some imagination to fill in the blanks in the sketch. I wanted to keep the colours separate and patchy and after an hour or two ended up with this…

Image

OK, not a BP portrait award winner but a useful lesson For me on how useful and harmonised a limited palette can be and also a good reason to ignore anyone that is dogmatic about not using black in paintings, black and yellow ochre gave some beautiful olive greens.
 
Encouraged by this I had another crack, this time with a model called Ella who was darker skinned, I think the palette worked here too. Thanks Ella. It’s also pleasingly different to the Jim one.
 Image 
When I was looking into limited palettes and in particular using black I stumbled across this article. http://willkempartschool.com/the-3-myths-of-black-in-mixing-paint-colours/  I was staggered to find a painter I was familiar with that painted large portraits using only Mars Violet (a dull red with a purple twinge), Blue-black and a bit of white.
 
 Here’s one of his works…

Image

 
Pretty amazing for such a limited palette eh? It shows that accurate tone trumps hue every time. I must have a go with this palette next time out.

 
The artist is Paul Elmsley, he’s considerably better known today than he was when I first thought about writing this a few days ago, now what else is he famous for?
 
Oh yes…

Image

 
I think he admitted himself that he was more cautious than he would have been with any other commission. Understandable I think and a pity if his career suffers. Thought this was a bit harsh ….

Image

 

Progress of landscape from abstracted inspiration to figurative end point in 3 steps

1. I thought these sand dunes made an interesting pattern when turned upside down. Try it yourself and compare it to the picture below.

20120708-200129.jpg
2. I had a stab at turning it into an abstracted landscape with the aid of acrylics and masking tape.

20120708-200345.jpg
3. I thought this could be improved and I had another attempt with oils. In the process I played with vertical strokes and enjoyed the rainstorm effect of the top half.

20120708-200552.jpg
I’ve submitted the end result to the Clifton Arts Club Summer exhibition today, I’ll let you know how I got on.